Are you an up and coming chess coach? Do you want to learn the common pitfalls of chess coaching and how to avoid them?
In this article I will share the ones I have learnt from my own experience as a chess coach, and a few that I have been taught by other chess coaches to avoid.
The pitfalls of chess coaching are hidden traps that are covered up, and unsuspected dangers that a chess coach falls into without knowing. For example, explaining chess concepts for too long, being too harsh with young chess students, and so forth. Without understanding these chess coaching pitfalls you will make a lot of mistakes as a chess coach. The way to avoid them is to learn about them and try as much as possible not to fall into them.
1. Explaining chess concepts for too long
It is important to keep explanations of chess concepts short and too the point. You run a risk of losing the attention of the chess students especially the young ones if you go on for too long. I have made this mistake so many times as chess coach. It is one mistake that occurs frequently if you are not careful.
2. Being too harsh with young chess students
You want your students to win their chess games and understand what you are teaching them. But being harsh on them or too strict with them when they lose is not the way to achieve that. It is very important for the chess student to feel your support and encouragement especially when they fail.
3. Not preparing for a chess lesson
This is a very big mistake and one that many chess coaches make too often. It is not enough to rely on your experience as a chess coach. As a chess coach you need to keep improving and finding ways to make your chess lessons fun and instructive.
4. Not letting the kids play
Chess students want to play more than they want to learn. It is a common mistake for a chess coach to think the students are learning because he has spent the whole lesson explaining a lot of concepts. This is not true in my experience. The chess students can easily get bored with long explanations. It is more important for them to learn one concept and play games to practice what they have learnt.
5. Not using enough examples
This a common mistake chess coaches make when they want to get through a lesson. They rush through the theory and give no practical examples. It is more important that the chess concept is understood properly by the students before rushing off to the next topic. Therefore, use a lot of examples and repeat the chess concept until all the students understand the lesson.
6. Not analysing the games of students
This is a very typical mistake and one that many coaches make. It is very easy to get excited about teaching the chess students new topics. But without properly analysing their chess games and seeing where they are going wrong, very little progress will be made. It necessary for a chess coach to sit and observe the games of the students and give them chess examples and exercises that will help them overcome their weaknesses.
7. Being too concerned with results.
When you are focused on the results of your chess students it is very easy to get frustrated when they do not reach them according to your expectations. They pick up on that and start feeling intimidated or scared to play chess games because they are afraid to disappoint you. Control yourself and know that losing is part of chess. It is more important to address the reason why they are losing and giving them confidence for the next games than for them to win every single game.
8. Showing up late to chess lessons
This is a big pitfall in chess coaching and it occurs too frequently. It makes it difficult for the chess students to remain focused after you arrive late. As a coach you will be annoyed with yourself as well and then you will end up giving a rushed and disorganised lesson, which won’t help the chess students learn anything. Try to be early for your chess lessons.
9. Same teaching methods
Teaching chess must not become a dry and boring routine. Always come up with new ways to keep the chess students interested. When the students are bored, you won’t engage with their minds and the chess lesson becomes futile. It is a good practise to try something new every lesson.
10. Not having ground rules in the chess lessons
Chess is a sport that requires discipline. When your chess lessons have no rules the students must follow, it is very easy for them to become disruptive and irritable. It is necessary to have rules the chess students must follow in order to maintain an effective learning environment. Make the chess rules fun, but stern.
In my experience as a chess coach, the 10 common pitfalls of of chess coaching I mentioned above are among the ones to try and avoid. It is not an easy task to avoid them all but the most important thing is to make an effort to avoid them. Try and find ways you can actively avoid these chess coaching pitfalls.
As always keep chessing!